Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Iraqi Government Expected By Early 2011

November 25, 2010 is the expected date that President Jalal Talabani will officially send a letter to Nouri al-Maliki making him the prime minister designee. After that Maliki will have 30 days to put together a new ruling coalition. A new government shouldn’t be expected until early next year however.

The main sticking point will be dividing up the various ministries. Iraq currently has 37 cabinet positions. The government run paper Al-Sabah reported that 18 ministries will go to the National Coalition that consists of Maliki’s State of Law and the Sadrist-Supreme Council-led Iraqi National Alliance, nine will be assigned to Iyad Allawi’s Iraqi National Movement (INM), the Kurdish Coalition will get seven, and one post will be given to the Christians. There has also been talk about expanding the number of ministries and deputies to meet all the demand from the parties.

The lists have created a numerical system to divide up the main offices. Each list will be assigned a number of points calculated by multiplying the number of seats they won times two. Those will then be expended upon posts that are given a score based upon their importance. Allawi’s INM for example won 91 seats, which means they have 182 points. The top spots in the country, prime minister, premier, speaker, and head of the National Council for Strategic Policies all cost 15 points. INM received the speakership and the head of the new council, which means they have spent 30 points already. The parties have already created a committee to discuss who gets what. The second deputy speaker Arif Tayfour warned that these talks have brought out internal divisions within many lists, which could drag out the process.

Iraq’s politicians have already taken eight months to just reach a power sharing agreement, and can be expected to take several more before a cabinet is finally formed. In total, it could be almost a year before Maliki has a new government put together. The whole ordeal has taken so long because of the many divisions amongst Iraq’s parties. There were disagreements amongst the Shiite lists over Maliki’s return to power. Allawi remains bitter that he was not named to form a new coalition, and still may walk away while other members of his National Movement take up new jobs. In the end though, the new regime will look and act a lot like the old one. The most important positions will be divided along ethnosectarian lines, and because so many parties are involved there will be little consensus to do much of anything about the major problems the country faces.

SOURCES

Aswat al-Iraq, “Iraq’s Defense and Interior Ministries won’t be assigned for independent elements, al-Iraqiya MP says,” 11/22/10

Elaph, Al-Hayat, Al-Zaman, Al-Mada, “Maliki, To Be Officially Designated To Form Iraqi Government, Is Already In Action,” MEMRI Blog, 11/22/10

Al-Hafar, Hasoun, “Lawmaker: Strategic Council to be in the ministerial Council,” AK News, 11/21/10

Al-Jader, May, “Political blocs lay claims on Iraqi ministries,” AK News, 11/21/10

Al-Sabah, Al-Zaman, “Emerging Plan for Shape of New Government in Iraq,” MEMRI Blog, 11/23/10

Uragency, “Close Al-Maliki Aide: No Decision on Assignment of Ministries,” MEMRI Blog, 11/17/10

4 comments:

Don Cox said...

Although it seems to be taking for ever, the relationships between the various groups in Iraq is in fact the country's biggest problem. It is probably right that the politicians should spend their time sorting this out, to find a way of getting along without violence, before tackling things like electricity and water.

Because if the relationships are not worked out, the services will be allocated to whichever group "owns" each ministry, and other groups will be neglected.

Joel Wing said...

Don,

Im not sure taking more time is going to fix the running of the ministries. Each will just become the new fief of whatever political party runs it. The Sadrists for example want service ministries so that they can dole them out to their followers. The other parties will run them in a similar way, probably kicking out all the old employees and filling it with their followers for patronage.

Steve said...

Baghdad (news) .. revealed a source close to the cycle of ongoing dialogues between the powers and blocs of political negotiations on the political forces on the distribution of government posts will be launched next Friday. The source, who preferred to remain anonymous (for the Agency by news) announced today that all parties have agreed that the primitive dialogues on cabinet posts after that are assigned to the National Alliance candidate for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki officially.

http://www.ikhnews.com/news.php?action=view&id=4793

I think it will take much less time. Most of the posts have been already agreed on. The government had to be formed by the 26th, 30 days after he was official designated as the winner of the election. What am I missing?

Joel Wing said...

Steve

I would doubt any unnamed source in an Iraqi paper. How many times did you hear that a government was going to be formed in just a few days in the last 8 months?

From what I've read there's some idea about how many ministries each list will get, but nothing on which ones will go to who. Maliki didn't even ask for lists to submit their candidates until yesterday. It would be an unbelievable change of pace if the politicians had sorted all the posts in just one day.

As for the 30 days, when has there ever been an important deadline that Iraq actually met on time?